Mousepads, Shoe Leather, and Hope
The Great Grassroots Campaign
Wednesday, December 31, 2003
Second update

Sorry I have not been able to update this. I have been SO busy...I have come home so exhausted each night that I have not even had the energy to talk to Nathaniel on the phone or burn a CD for my car. But right now I have managed to avoid being given a list of people to bother on New Year's Eve to promote Friday's event, so I have a minute to post.

The first few days were really rough. I started crying on Sunday night because we had been there for 12 hours and they would not let us leave and I was unfocused and had not slept and I got really frustrated. Monday morning was a little better, and the afternoon was not too bad because I got to leave early to pick up Steve at the airport. Yesterday started out good, because I got an assignment to drive around delivering letters, but it ended up taking forever and I was alone driving around the unfamiliar backwoods of New Hampshire in the dark. Plus, I almost ran out of gas and had to try to find a station in the middle of nowhere. I was pretty close to quitting, but today was a much better day.

This morning we went flyering for the event Friday, and Teddi, one of the volunteer coordinators, told us that the order from above was to just stick them on cars. I feel strongly that it is better to hand the flyers to people, because making contact is likely to have more impact, some people get a favorable impression just from seeing young people get involved, and it is a chance to identify supporters. So I insisted that while the other three winterns who went put flyers on cars, I would hand them to people. In the process, I found five supporters and one person who was leaning toward Dean, which is more than we were able to identify from 3 hours of canvassing Monday morning. Gretchen, the regional director, was psyched, and Sam Simon, whose position I am not quite sure of, said "I would like to let it be known that i agreed with her the whole time that handing out the flyers was better." I felt really good about standing my ground and proving my case.

Then tonight we saw fireworks, which was really exciting. I almost did not go out to see them, because I was afraid that they would make me sad. But I have loved fireworks since I was a little kid, and there is no way I could not see them. I just forced myself to look at the sky and not the people, because I knew that if I saw one happy couple watching the fireworks together I would cry. I know, I probably sound ridiculous. But the good news is, Nathaniel is coming here in less than a week. His dad changed his flight yesterday so that he can fly into Boston and be here for a few days and then drive back to my house with Steve and me. Then my dad will take the three of us back to school. I have no idea how we will get all our stuff into my little Honda Accord, since Steve and Nathaniel both pack like girls. But we will figure it out.

After the fireworks, I and a few other winterns handed out flyers to the swarms of people passing through the street, and I got two more supporters identified. I think I have identified more supporters today than anyone has been able to do in one day, at least recently, since they thought all the easy ones were already identified. So I feel really good, and I am more confident that I will be able to survive the next week. I just wish the hours were not so long. I can't focus after a certain point, and I feel pretty useless after 4-5 PM, though we still have another 5 hours of work at least at that time. My mom is right - school will seem like a vacation after this!
Sunday, December 28, 2003
First update from New Hampshire

So I am here in the office in Nashua, NH. I only have a few minutes to blog, but I will try to say as much as I can before I have to get back to work.

I admit that all last week, I did not want to come. Leaving school was rough, and I miss Nathaniel terribly. I had finally adjusted to being back home, and I did not want to leave and come up here. For some reason, I have not been as focused on the campaign lately.

But now that I am here, I find myself getting back into the spirit. I arrived at the headquarters in Nashua around 9 PM last night, after spending almost 10 hours in the car. Everyone says it is supposed to take 6 hours to get to New Hampshire from home, but it has never taken me fewer than 9. Last night, I was really intimidated - they had the evening meeting and I had no idea what they were talking about, and I did not understand how the other winterns who had also arrived yesterday already seemed like experts. And another wintern in Salem had told me that the shortest day he worked was 14 hours, so that made me a little nervous.

This morning, we went out and assembled and posted these huge Dean signs that a volunteer had built. There were too many of us and I mostly felt useless, but I did get to use a hammer and a drill, and I must say that I did quite well with them. I will post pictures later.

Now I am updating the database of New Hampshire Democratic and independent voters based on their level of support for Dean. It is tedious, but also interesting, because I get to see how some people have changed their minds either for or against Dean. I have only done a few pages so far, but it looks like a lot of people are changing from supporting other candidates to undecided, and a few people have Dean as their second choice and support candidates who are floundering, so that is good news. I don't notice a lot of people switching to Dean, but like I said, I have only done a few pages, and I spend far more time deleting wrong numbers and marking refusals than changing people's support status, since most people hang up when you call.

Speaking of which, I was just told that I am needed to do phone-banking, so I will post more later.

Monday, December 08, 2003
Al Gore to Endorse Dean!

Well, if it did not already look good for Dean, things just got a little better. I am really shocked...I did not think he would make an endorsement so soon and I certainly did not think that he would endorse an outsider like Dean. Then again, the party establishment turned on him, so I guess he is not as much of a Washington insider with an insider mentality as he used to be. This is great of the biggest endorsements we could get, and I think this definitely puts Dean a step closer to getting the nomination.

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